This piece is part of my “Rejected Stories” collection. Click here to learn more.

“Edward Thompson, you, as well as a few others, have been chosen for the expedition to Mars.”

“Come on, man! This is a once in a life time chance! I’d kill to be in your shoes! Think of the fame and fortune!”

“Eddie, no matter what happens, remember that Susie and I will always love you and cherish all the times we’ve spent together.”

The voices of the past rang through my head, reminding me that there was no turning back. It was now or never. All the people back on Earth were counting on me to do my country proud. I wasn’t about to let them down.

There was utter silence as I made that first step. I then stood, paralysed, looking at the foreign land before me. 

After a moment of recollecting myself, I grinned and cried out childishly, “YEAH!” A cheer rose from my speakers.

“Congratulations, Thompson!” came the proud voice of my contact. “You are officially the first man to step on Mars!”

Pride swept through me as I waved my country’s flag. I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I did not notice the leech-like creature gnaw its way through my suit. Suddenly, I felt overcome by an unknown force, an evil force. My body started shaking violently and my head felt as if it wanted to burst. Every muscle in my body screamed for mercy, as the creature possessed me. “argh!” I cried out in agony, battling with it, surrendering to it in the end. The darkness that was buried within me then surfaced. I was a soul trapped in scum. 

“Hey, what’s going on? Is everything okay?” asked my worried contact. 

“Eddie!” my wife called immediately after. “What’s happening? Are you okay?”

“Yes,” answered a voice that was not my own, “everything’s just fine.”


What’s going on? I thought to myself. I was back on Earth now. There had been celebration after celebration, but I did not feel the excitement. I was reunited with my wife and little girl, yet I did not share their love. In fact, I was emotionless.

Sarah and my little girl had gone home a little earlier. There were still some tests, which had to be done on me, so I had to stay at the base a bit longer. 

The sky outside appeared darker that night and storm clouds seemed to be brewing. I sat, shivering, at the edge of my bed, thinking about the past events. I had a sudden urge to look at myself in mirror. Nothing prepared me for the sight that I saw. As thunder roared in the background, a goblin-looking face grinned back at me, its sharp jagged teeth in view. Its red eyes looked as though they were smiling too. “What are you?” I wanted to ask, but my body was no longer my own. A greater force—an evil force—controlled it.

“I am your creation!” the creature exclaimed reading my thoughts. “We are now one as we were always meant to be!”

What are you talking about? I asked it. How could I create you?

“It’s all in the mind,” it replied knowingly, “at least, the subconscious mind,” it added. There was a brief pause. “Enough of that!” it boomed. “We have work to do!”

The creature leapt out of the window and bounded into the night. After a moment of running in complete darkness, I felt myself spinning with it in what seemed like a time warp.  Suddenly, as if by magic, we were in a city. Rain poured as we ran along the worn out streets, passing dimly lit streetlights and old paper houses of the homeless. We continued running in silence, ignoring the loud honking of the horns, the screeching of tyres and the other noises that surrounded us. 


What am I doing here? I thought in alarm, realizing that I was in my old house. I shivered in fright at the thought. Has this creature come to torment me?

“No,” it replied, reading my thoughts again, “we have come to settle a score!” The creature then laughed incredulously. 

Suddenly, at the flick of a switch, light broke through the darkness. No! I exclaimed in my mind, staring at my father face to face. My forgotten memories then flooded back to me. “You’re a loser, Eddie!” I remembered him saying, while he struck me with “Bob’”. How I hated ‘Bob’—and him just as equally, if not, more. How I would tremble at his mere voice. How I had longed for a father who could love and care. How I had wished that Mum was still alive. How I hated Dad for all that he did and for all that he was. But now he looked so frail and weak that I almost felt sorry for him.

“Hello father!” the creature mocked. “This is Eddie, your loser of a son!” it exclaimed, pinning Dad to the wall. “Who’s the loser now,” it taunted, strangling Dad till he was blue, ignoring Dad’s tortured cries. It then punched and kicked Dad, as if letting out its agony—my agony.

All my life I had wondered what it would feel like to hurt Dad the way he did to me, to kick him and beat him till he would lay unconscious. All my life, I had buried those feelings, not daring to go near them, in fear that I might just get my wish—and I did. The creature was me, the hurt me, the hateful me, the dark me. I did create it. All those times I had said that everything would be okay, that Dad was just upset over the loss of Mum, that he did love me and just didn’t know how to show it. All those times I had forced back my tears and forgot how to cry altogether. All those times I would sit alone scared of Dad’s next outburst, scared of everyone and everything. All those times I had masked my feelings, deceiving people with my smiles and laughter—deceiving even my own true self. All those times I had done nothing about how Dad treated me, about how he used and abused me on account of his pain. 

I sometimes wondered how life would be if Mum were still alive. Would Dad be any different? Would I be truly happy with my life? Would life actually be perfect? Would I still have a purpose in my life? Would God’s plan for me still have any usefulness? Would God’s plan, altogether, be necessary? 

As it kicked and beat Dad black and blue, I realized we were just being the same as Dad had been to me. Stop! I cried out to the creature, but it continued till Dad’s bruises split, blood gushing out. Stop, please! I pleaded. It would not. It proceeded to strangle Dad and kick and bash Dad, until Dad’s cries could be heard no more. It smiled an evil smile as it did so. It laughed an evil laugh and it cried out evil cries. Please, no more! I begged it helplessly. 

For the first time in my whole life, I cried. I cried for Mum, who had died after my birth. I cried for all the love I had missed. I cried over all the pain I had felt. I cried over the darkness of my heart. I cried for every tear that I had forced back. I cried till I was dry of tears. I even cried for Dad.

Slowly, the creature let go of me. Slowly, it left my life, taking with it all the pain and suffering I had buried. Slowly, it departed from my soul, my whole being, leaving me with a feeling of contentment and acceptance over all that I had experienced. Slowly, the creature disappeared, burdening me with blood on my hands and its owner lying lifeless on my bedroom floor. 

I wrote this story when I was 15 years old for a writing competition. I’ve decided not to edit it to preserve the history of where my writing was at during that period of my life.

If this story resonated with you, please do me a favour. Don’t share it on social media. Instead, please share it with one other person who you think will enjoy it too so it can find a home in yet another heart. 

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Author: Raihanaty A. Jalil

Raihanaty A Jalil writes poetry and fiction and has been on a panel during Perth Festival Writers Week 2019. She has performed a reading of her work at the Wheeler Centre Melbourne during the Digital Writers’ Festival 2019. She currently sits on the board for Centre for Stories.